I was walking down the sidewalk, wearing Ester's pajama pants and Gerard's t-shirt and no shoes. My hair wasn't brushed and I hadn't done my makeup in days. And I was currently walking to my house where either my mom or dad would be waiting; it didn't really matter which, because either way I'd be in deep shit. But I wasn't worried, or embarrased about how I looked.
Mainly because Gerard was holding my hand, and he looked just as scruffy as I did.
I smiled on the inside. There weren't many things that made me smile with my face; there'd been a fair few those last few days, but this wasn't one of them. I was still smiling on the inside, though.
Gerard looked sideways at me. "You okay?" he asked.
I nodded. I was a little worried about what would happen when I got home looking like this, after disappearing for two days without taking my phone with me or telling anyone where I was going, but with Gerard next to me I felt as safe as possible.
We rounded the corner of my street, and I gripped Gerard's hand a little tighter. He glanced at me again, but didn't say anything this time. As we neared the house, I could see my mom's car, but not my dad's. We stopped on the sidewalk outside the house.
"Do you want me to come inside with you?" he asked. I thought about it for a minute. Then I nodded.
"Just for a minute," I explained. "I should be fine after that."
"Okay," he nodded. We walked up the porch steps together.
I tried the door, and it opened easily. Which was a good thing, because I didn't have my house key with me. We both went inside. Gerard knew that we should be quiet, even thought I hadn't told him. I thought that was pretty awesome of him.
And suddenly my mom rounded the corner of the hallway. I gasped a little, as she'd caught me by surprise. I let go of Gerard's hand, hoping she hadn't noticed.
"Verity!" she practically yelled. I winced, hoping Gerard wouldn't have to witness the full brunt of her anger right then, but then she grabbed me and hugged me. I was literally too shocked to speak, so I just stood there with my mouth open.
"Where were you?" she said. She didn't sound mad, which was very unusual. "I was so worried about you!"
"Umm...I was at Gerard's place," I said simply, motioning towards him. She pulled back and looked at Gerard.
"Oh my, is this your friend?" she practically cooed. I made a face. 'Oh my'? This was MY MOM we were talking about. She didn't say things like 'oh my'.
"Umm, yeah," I stammered again. God--mood swing much, mom?
"Well, it's very nice to meet you...Gerard, was it?" she said, reaching out to shake his hand.
"Y-yeah," he said, glancing at me as he shook her hand. This clearly wasn't what he'd been expecting. "It's nice to meet you too."
"Well honey," she said, turning back to me, "it's fine if you want to stay over at boys' houses, but you really should check with me first." Shit. I so should've let Gerard go before I came in. I looked apologetically at him while my mouth automatically formed the words,
"Sorry, mom, I won't do it again." She practically beamed.
"So would you kids like some breakfast?" she said, turning to go into the kitchen. I grimaced at the word 'kids'. I looked at Gerard, and he shook his head.
"No, that's okay. But, uh...is dad here?" I asked hesitantly. She didn't miss a beat.
"Your father? Why would he be here, honey?"
I half-laughed, half-choked, and blurted out, "Maybe because--because I thought I saw his car outside," I trailed off. Gerard looked at me curiously, but I just shook my head. He wouldn't understand, and neither would she.
"Well I'm sure it was just a similar car." Her voice sounded every bit as cheerful and chipper as when we'd walked in the door (which, to tell the truth, was starting to get on my nerves), and she didn't even turn around.
"Are you sure you kids don't want something to eat? Because I can make waffles if you do...but sweetheart, you might have to run out and get some ice-cream, because I'm not sure if we have any," she rattled on.
What the hell was going on?? She was never like this. Ever. I looked at Gerard and mouthed the words, 'She must be high.' He stifled a laugh and shook his head.
"No, mom, I have to get ready for school," I said, but she was already in the kitchen. I turned to Gerard, who was already in his uniform. "You go ahead, so you won't be late."
"What about you?" he hesitated.
"I'll get a lift from my mom," I said, smiling up at him. "She'd probably do anything for me right now, though I'm not really sure why."
"Okay," he said. "See you soon, then."
We stood there for a little bit. I was still a little confused on the 'saying goodbye' issue--I wasn't sure if I should kiss him or not. We definitely weren't together--we'd barely flirted, really; it was like things had just happened by themselves--but it wasn't like we were just friends. So I reached out and hugged him.
"Bye," I said. He looked slightly confused as I pulled away. I sighed as the door clicked shut behind him. Damn, I fucked up--now he probably thinks I don't like him that way at all. But how could he think that? What about last night? True, I didn't really say anything that would hint that I liked him...but what about the way I was acting? I wasn't faking that. I couldn't if I tried.
I sighed again as I walked upstairs--well, it was more like a yawn, really. I was tired--I hadn't gotten much sleep after that dream.
'No, don't even think about it,' I told myself. I busied myself with getting dressed and doing my hair (which didn't take long, as it was dead-straight with layers and a side fringe, so I usually just wore it out), before going back downstairs.
"Hey mom, can you drop me at school?" I asked her. "I'd walk, but I'm already running late."
"Sure, sweetheart," she said. And to my surprise, she grabbed her keys and walked out the front door. She usually would have complained for about ten minutes, and then taken a further ten minutes to 'get ready' for a five-minute drive. Whatever--I didn't really care. I just wanted to get to school and see Gerard. Bob, Frank and Mikey would be there too, as well as the infamous Ray, and probably Ester too. Sweet.
I was a bit late for Chem so I didn't get to sit by Gerard. That was okay, though, because I kind of liked Chemistry, and plus he didn't look like he was in a talking mood just then. I sat next to this guy who had the biggest afro I'd ever seen, and it took all my self-control not to stare at it. What was even weirder, though, was the urge I felt to reach out and stroke it. Odd. When class was finished, Gerard came over.
"Hey,' he said. "You were late."
"Sorry, Mr. Teacher, sir," I smirked. He smiled back.
"So what is it? I have Maths next and it's very important that I don't miss even a second," I kidded him.
"Well, um, I was wondering..." he began. "Well, I know last time we had lunch together I was kind of, um..."
"A complete shithead?" I supplied cheerfully.
"Yeah, that's the one," he smiled, half-jokingly. "But anyways, I was wondering if you'd give me another chance. To not be a shithead. Like, at lunch."
I had noticed that all this time the guy with the anti-gravitational hair was just standing behind Gerard. I was actually starting to get a little annoyed, but I decided to ignore it.
"Sure," I smiled. "If you give me another chance to have a sense of adventure."
"Deal," Gerard grinned.
The guy with the afro cleared his throat. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"Sorry to interrupt," he said, "but, uh...are we still wagging English, Gerard? 'Cause the sale starts at 1:30."
"Yeah, we're still on," Gerard said. "By the way, this is Verity. And this is Ray."
"This is Ray?" I repeated stupidly. Gerard nodded. I took a closer look at the guy. Yep, his hair was every bit as large and fluffy as I'd thought at first. He had pretty thick lips, and he was taller than me (let's face it, who isn't?).
"Hey," I waved uncertainly. Ray looked at me in a way that I can only describe as unimpressed.
"Sup," he said shortly, before turning back to Gerard. "So I'll meet you behind Building C, okay? At one, because we have to walk." Gerard nodded again, and Ray walked off. He'd barely said one word to me, but Gerard didn't seem to think it was odd, so I shrugged it off.
"Well, I have Maths next. What about you?" I said.
"English," he said. "I think Mikey's in your Maths."
Ah. I hadn't thought about what would happen when I saw Mikey. The last time I'd seen him was when his parents brought him back from the doctor. He'd barely looked at me, and had just gone upstairs and to sleep.
"Okay," I nodded, trying not to think about that right then. "See you at lunch then?"
He nodded, and we went to our classes.
And OF COURSE there were no seats in Maths except the one right next to Mikey. He looked at me as I sat down, and I smiled at him. He looked a little surprised, but he did smile back, so I guess that counts for something. Maybe he didn't hate me. In fact, I was starting to think that he'd never liked me in THAT way at all--maybe he was just surprised to see Gerard and I making out on the couch when it had seemed like we hated each other.
The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I was right. Mikey didn't like me; I wasn't even sure Gerard did, and two people liking me was out of the question. I'd had a couple boyfriends before, but nothing even remotely serious. After the third guy had dumped me for no real reason, I'd started to think that I wasn't that likeable. It must be me; either the way I looked, or my personality, or something like that.
I should probably mention that I was doubtful about Gerard. I can't say I thought he was lying, because he hadn't actually said that he liked me or anything. But I couldn't believe that he felt the same way as I did. Maybe he just wanted to have fun. I wasn't particularly happy with that, but I couldn't really do anything about it. I liked Gerard, and he seemed to like me, so that was all I could ask for. If he didn't like me...well, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
I sighed. I was starting to get fed up with the way that I couldn't trust anyone who said or even hinted that they might like me. But introspection would have to wait; I fully intended to pass high school, and I wasn't going to do it by obsessing over some guy (granted, a very hot guy) who I barely knew. I sighed again and listened to what the teacher was saying.
"Hey, Verity?" It was the end of maths class and I was about to head to lunch when Mikey approached me timidly.
"Um, hi Mikey," I said. I looked at him expectantly, and he cleared his throat.
"Uh, Gerard wanted me to walk you to the cafeteria so I can show you where we all sit," he said, never dragging his eyes away from his shoes.
"Oh...okay," I said. I smiled and tried to be friendly. "Let's go, then."
Mikey walked alongside me, his hands in his pockets and his eyes on his shoes. I felt so bad for him, especially because I didn't know why he was hurting. Or maybe I was making a big deal of nothing, and he was just having the guys' version of PMS. Is there EVEN a guy's version of PMS? Not likely. I decided to just do it without thinking.
"Is everything okay, Mikey?" I asked gingerly.
He looked up, surprised. "Y-yeah. Why wouldn't it be?"
"I don't know. You just seem kind of...sad," I said. He didn't really seem sad; it was just that I couldn't think of a word that would better describe the way he looked just then. Maybe 'in pain' would have done the trick, but he would probably think I meant actual physical pain.
"Nah, I'm okay," he said. His tone of voice only convinced me that he was definitely not okay, buy I wasn't stupid. I could tell he didn't want to talk to me about it.
We got to the cafeteria and bought our food, and Mikey led me over to the table without saying anything.
"Hey," Gerard smiled, looking up from his conversation with Frankie, who waved.
"Hi." I sat down next to Bob, and as I did, I swear I saw Ray roll his eyes at me. God--was EVERYONE man-PMSing today, or what?
"Hi, Verity!" Bob grinned. "Are you coming after lunch?"
"I don't know," I said, picking up my focaccia and looking closely at it to make sure there was no mayonnaise (I can't stand the stuff). "I didn't know you guys were going anywhere."
"Aw, shit! You didn't tell her, Mikey?" Gerard broke in. Mikey just shrugged and kept staring at his plate.
"Well anyways," Bob continued, "there's this huge sale at the comic store that starts at one-thirty, and we're all gonna wag so we can go."
"Couldn't you just go after school?" I asked. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have anything against wagging, but there didn't seem to be much point when you could just go as soon as school was done.
"No," Ray scoffed, breaking into the discussion with a scornful tone. "The best ones'll be gone within an hour. Everyone knows that."
"Oh," I said. I hadn't known that.
"So anyway, you wanna come?" Bob asked.
"Umm...sure!" I smiled at him. "I've never really read comics, but I'll come see what they're all about."
Ray stifled a laugh. I was already beginning to dislike him, and I couldn't see why everyone had went on and on about him the previous day. But again, no-one else seemed to think it was weird, so I just tried to ignore him--pointedly, I will admit.
"Awesome," Gerard said, smiling at me from across the table. Frankie was slurping from a soda REALLY loudly, Ray was still scoffing and rolling his eyes, and Mikey was making a big show of not eating his food; but I didn't notice any of that. When Gerard smiled, I paid attention. I didn't ever want to forget the way his face looked when he smiled.